12 by 12 Campaign: Six Countries Grant Rights to Domestic Workers in 2012 – but what about Europe?

Brussels, 12/12/2012

Many may think that this is an issue that only concerns other parts of the world. In fact, domestic workers are a large but mostly invisible workforce in Europe, which leaves them extremely vulnerable to exploitation. There is growing demand for domestic work due to demographic changes, the pressure for more flexible working patterns and lack of adequate care facilities but the extent to which domestic workers are protected by employment law varies greatly between European Union Member States as illustrated by the responses to the ETUC’s 8 March Survey 2012 (http://www.etuc.org/a/9877). In many European countries domestic work is performed mainly by women, many of them from a migrant or ethnic minority background, often undocumented, working for private households with almost no protection whatsoever. They are often denied basic working rights, such a rest periods, paid holidays and paid sick leave, despite legal obligations to the contrary.

The ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol said: “We need to ensure that domestic work is decent work. All workers, including those who work in our homes, should have proper employment protection. Europe needs to get on the ILO Convention No 189 ratification map!

The ‘12 by 12’ Campaign is an initiative of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in partnership with the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Public Service International (PSI), The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), Human Rights Watch, Anti-Slavery International, Solidar, Migrant Forum Asia (MFA), World Solidarity and Caritas.

- Link to 12 -12 -12 Campaign flyer: http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/12-12-12.pdf